No, not the movie – the occasion! And, yes, it’s a perfect day to reflect on our country and where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we’re going. And yes, of course I’m going to mention my books, ‘cause it’s MY blog!
To begin our brief history lesson: our country was founded on the principles of freedom and representation. I contend that while we still have some of the former, we experience very little of the latter.
We originally left England – nice euphemism for the Revolutionary War, yes? – because our rights had been cut, taxed, and we had no representation in Parliament. So we changed things, and grew, and improved.
Then something happened.
Our rights, our freedom, began to be severely curtailed by laws, ordinances, and regulations. Now, every civilization needs rules, points of order, and even the ubiquitously named “rules of law.” Ha. But soon everything was being taxed, regulated, and ruled upon.
For example – and this could get very long indeed, but it won’t: when we had our cleaning business, we were supposed to charge customers a “use tax.” What did this cover? The cost of cleaning supplies that were washed down the drains. True story. Let’s say we used, oh, a quarter cup of toilet bowl cleaner. First, we had to figure out the cost of the bottle, how many quarter cups were in that bottle, divide out the cost of the quarter cup, and then list it as an itemized tax on the customer’s bill.
What moron came up with that?
Whenever anyone has any kind of grievance, a new law is laid down. Don’t even get me started on the so-called “public safety” laws. And representation? Many, or most, of our representatives have law school educations. Not going to pick on lawyers (Bill, don’t read this part!), but there’s a local ad here on TV, late night of course, where this attorney is telling people that, if they are in an accident, call her – because YOU HAVE RIGHTS! YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO GET COMPENSATION FROM THE ACCIDENT!
No wonder we’re in so much trouble. Sheesh. It makes me cringe just to write about that commercial.
No, folks, you have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Well, unless you’re a baby in the womb. Sorry, had to throw that in. Liberty? I’ll let Webster be the arbiter here:
1: the quality or state of being free:
a : the power to do as one pleases
b : freedom from physical restraint
c : freedom from arbitrary or despotic control
d : the positive enjoyment of various social, political, or economic rights and privileges
e : the power of choice
And before anyone makes reference to the baby comment and the last part of Webster’s definition, let me remind you that a baby should have a choice too. End of soapbox.
So, do we have liberty? Within reasonable boundaries? This is a tough one, and hard to argue. We can mostly do as we please: we can sleep late, eat whatever we want (unless you live in NYC, sorry), work or not, go anywhere we want, etc., etc. Most of us aren’t physically restrained, unless we’re in prison and then, well, there’s that whole choice thing. You chose to break the law.
“Arbitrary or despotic control.” There’s a zinger! Let the comments begin!
“Positive enjoyment… ” Frankly, I think Webster’s lost his marbles – as opposed to what, negative enjoyment? But it continues with “social, political, or economic rights and privileges.” Yes to this – these should be available to all.
The pursuit of happiness – again, not to be confused with yet another Will Smith movie – is exactly that. The PURSUIT OF. Doesn’t mean you’re entitled to be happy. I hope you are, but there are no guarantees. Are we still allowed to pursue happiness? Well, yes, as long as we follow the laws, and we already covered the fact that are just plain ridiculous.
Think what America could accomplish if 1) our lawmakers actually knew what was on the books, and 2) they got rid of some of the BS. Wow!
This is getting quite long, but one more thing: where are we going in this great country of ours? I’ll leave you to answer that question, but I’ll tell you that my books are inspired by what I’ve seen, what I’ve researched, and what I know. And yes, it’s fiction. Or is it prediction?